Singapore

Man who posted Tiong Bahru Plaza fracas video: Woman's actions 'were not acceptable'

Owndays says both staff have lodged police reports.

Her shift was about to end when a customer started hurling expletives and assaulting her two colleagues at about 9.45pm on Monday night.

The sales assistant at spectacle shop Owndays in Tiong Bahru Plaza, who only wanted to be known as Nora, told The New Paper (TNP): "It was very scary. I called the police but I was so scared, I didn't even know what to say."

When TNP visited the outlet yesterday afternoon, Nora confirmed that the two victims were on leave, but were otherwise fine.

A six-minute video of the incident was posted on Facebook on Tuesday afternoon, and soon went viral, with more than 8.3 million views and over 39,000 comments and 182,000 shares as of 8pm on Wednesday night.

It shows the woman shouting at the person filming, and hitting the two female Owndays staff.

A security guard and passersby also tried to calm her down.

A spokesman from Owndays Singapore told TNP that a woman had come into the shop to seek shelter, and their staff tried to assist her.

The woman in the video then followed her into the shop and started to assault the staff at the counter, who then called security as well as the police.

The spokesman confirmed that the two full-time female staff had sought medical attention after the incident, and added: "They're doing all right, and are resting at home. We are seeking legal advice on how we can help the girls who were assaulted.

"Moving forward, we're looking into providing more in-depth training for our staff on how to handle such incidents and how they can protect themselves."

Owndays said both staff have lodged police reports.

Shin Min Daily News reported yesterday that one of the victims, Ms Lim Pei Pei, said the conflict between the two women had already arisen before the incident, and when the first woman came seeking shelter, the woman in the video followed her into the shop angrily.

Ms Lim added that she had bruises on her arms but still went to work the next day, and was going to the hospital for a medical check-up after leaving work.

Police said they were alerted to the incident at 9.57pm. A 45-year-old woman was arrested in relation to the case, and police investigations are ongoing.

A staff member at The Face Shop next door who declined to be named witnessed the incident.

The 30-year-old manager said: "We heard shouting coming from the shop, so I went to check and saw the woman shouting at the Owndays staff. We didn't catch her hitting anyone, we only saw her repeatedly pointing at the staff, and shouting very fiercely until the staff cried.

"I could hear her telling the staff to help her pick up her bracelet in the room. The security guard then told the staff to help look for it, so we thought maybe they lost her stuff and she got angry. But even after they found it, she still continued shouting at them."

Other store owners in the vicinity said they did not see or hear the scuffle, because most shops were already closing at that time.

A spokesman for Certis CISCO, who provides security for Tiong Bahru Plaza, told TNP: "The security officer was performing in accordance with standard operating procedures. She was attempting to separate the two parties and defuse the situation with the help of bystanders. It was important to calm the assailant and prevent the incident from escalating."

Mr Simon Ng, general manager of security training organisation Leacov Singapore, said: "If the aggressor committed an arrestable offence in full view of security personnel, the security personnel can effect an arrest. The staff can also exercise a private citizen's right to self-defense to defend herself."

"I would advise security to bring the disputing parties out of sight of each other. Out of sight, out of mind."

AsiaMalls, which manages Tiong Bahru Plaza, said it "takes a serious view on the security and safety of its shoppers and tenants".

"We are currently following up with our affected tenant to provide help where necessary. As investigations are still ongoing, we are unable to comment further," said an AsiaMalls spokesman.

Mr Gerald Teo, 40, the user who posted the original video online said he received the video from a friend of a friend on a WhatsApp group chat.

He told TNP: "I didn't want to post it at first, but after I watched it I was quite angry and shocked at the woman's behaviour so I decided to just post it. I didn't expect it to go viral.

"But I still think I didn't do the wrong thing. Her actions were not acceptable."

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